I’ve been kind of indifferent to the South Park brouhaha over Comedy Central’s decision to self-censor images of the prophet Mohammed in the face of threats from Muslim extremists, or in this case extremist. But Ross Douthat of the New York Times does a great job of telling us why we should care.
Our culture has few taboos that can’t be violated, and our establishment has largely given up on setting standards in the first place.
Except where Islam is concerned. There, the standards are established under threat of violence, and accepted out of a mix of self-preservation and self-loathing.
This is what decadence looks like: a frantic coarseness that “bravely” trashes its own values and traditions, and then knuckles under swiftly to totalitarianism and brute force. . . .
[I]f a violent fringe is capable of inspiring so much cowardice and self-censorship, it suggests that there’s enough rot in our institutions that a stronger foe might be able to bring them crashing down.
(I’ve likened our cultural elites to the Soviet Union. Those of us who lived through that failed experiment in totalitarian socialism believed that the USSR would always be. When Ronald Reagan told Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall!” I thought, fat chance, at least in my lifetime. Many believe that the cultural elites who inhabit and in effect control the cultural influence professions of media, entertainment and education will always be as well. But there is a rot in leftist secular thought and morals that will not stand the test of time.)
In case you are interested, I found the website of this group that goes by the name Revolution Muslim. Looking and reading through this website gave me a heavy case of the creeps. Here are some obviously intelligent, articulate very radical Muslims who use the façade of reasonableness to mask their truly heinous religion. I’m not saying all Muslims are truly heinous, but those who call themselves Revolution Muslim and use the image of a black fist as their logo likely are.
Another reason we should be concerned about this veiled threat is given this morning by one who should know, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman who partnered with the murdered Theo Van Gogh in a movie that offended some Muslims, and who now lives in America with protection because she fears for her life. She wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal called “’South Park’ and the Informal Fatwa.” America cannot be held hostage to the dictates of religious extremists, and what Comedy Central did will only feed this very dangerous beast.